Improving outcomes in patients with ventricular assist devices transferred from outlying to tertiary care hospitals

Mark B. Anderson, Eric Gratz, Raymond K. Wong, Karim Benali, Robert T.V. Kung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In this retrospective study, the implant course and outcome of patients with ventricular assist devices (VADs) transferred from outlying "spoke" hospitals and converted nonsurgically to a device designed for ambulation at tertiary care "hub" hospitals are evaluated. Factors affecting the crucial decision to transfer and to convert devices have not previously been characterized. Data from 50 patients at 26 US hub institutions were voluntarily submitted to a VAD data registry at ABIOMED, between December 2003 and December 2005. The patients were transferred from 40 spokes on the BVS 5000 Blood Pump and converted to the AB5000 Ventricle (both ABIOMED) at hubs. Comparisons were made on implant indications, time-course, and end-organ function at the time of conversion between surviving patients and patients that had died. Patients who were transferred and converted had a survival to recovery or to next therapy rate of 42%. Eighteen of the surviving patients were still alive 30 days after the explant: 61% were weaned, 33% were transplanted, and 5.6% received a destination device. Average implant-to-transfer time was 1.5 vs. 2.0 days for 30-day survivors and expired patients, respectively, whereas support time from transfer to conversion was 4.8 vs. 4 days, respectively. At the time of device conversion, a total bilirubin below a threshold level of 3.5 mg/dL was predictive of 30-day survival (n = 26, p = .03, odds ratio = 2.73, 95% confidence interval: 1.22-6.16). Patients who survived 30 days were supported longer than those who died (35 vs. 21.1 days, p = .026). At least 18 patients recovered sufficiently on the AB5000 Ventricle to tolerate extubation and 11 patients were able to ambulate. Liver function after implant both at the spoke and before conversion at the hub may be a good indicator of patient survivability. Patients transferred from the BVS 5000 Blood Pump benefited from easy, safe conversion to the AB5000 Ventricle, which provided them with additional support time and afforded the opportunity to recover native heart function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-48
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Extra-Corporeal Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Ambulatory device
  • Bridge-to-recovery
  • Bridge-to-transplant
  • Hub
  • Regional referral network
  • Spoke
  • Tertiary care hospital
  • Ventricular assist device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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